There are three categories of ghosts, one of which we must avoid.
In popular culture, ghosts are often depicted as cute and endearing creatures like casper, or as frightening beings that haunt a particular place or person. However, most people think of ghosts as fictional objects and not real beings. According to the Catholic Church, “ghosts” do exist. It distinguishes them according to three categories.
First of all, the Catholic Church does not speak of ghosts but of “spirits”, thus affirming that there exists, around us, a spiritual world. These spirits can be, for example, “angels”. Angels, like God, are pure “spirits” and do exist. It is a truth of faith and as Catholics we believe in it.
Often, when an angel appears in the Bible, the person who sees him is first overcome with fear. But then the angel speaks, and exhorts him not to fear anything. Far from wanting to deceive people, angels appear to give a message of encouragement or to help a particular person to come closer to God. Their mission is to guide souls on the path that God has traced for them, in the hope that they will one day reach eternal beatitude.
Their mission is very specific and they often help without us even realizing that they are the ones who intervened. If they sometimes take on a human appearance, it is not to frighten us but on the contrary to help us.
2The deceiving demons
On the other hand, if there are good angels, there are also Wrong angels. the Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms that “Satan or the devil and the other demons are fallen angels for having freely refused to serve God and his purpose” (CCC 414).
This kind of “ghost” is one of the spiritual creatures that are presented in particular in reality TV shows that deal with paranormal phenomena. Reports about these ghosts always revolve around terrifying experiences. It can be objects that move on their own or a haunted house. Other times it is the description of a scary figure.
The demons want to scare us. They want us to believe they are powerful and win our submission. It’s an old tactic. The devil wants to draw us away from God and wants us to have a fascination with what is demonic.
It is very likely that if someone thinks he is seeing a ghost or is “ghost hunting”, what he is seeing is actually a demon.
3The spirits of the dead
The third category of “ghosts” does not fit the definition of an angel or a demon. Countless stories have been told over the centuries of saints or souls in purgatory visiting people. Saints appear to certain people to encourage them and give them hope of eternal life. Souls in purgatory usually come to ask for prayers, or to give thanks for prayers when they have been admitted to paradise. This is testified by many saints. Souls in purgatory appear for a very specific reason. They do not seek to frighten or intimidate us.
The Church has written nothing official about souls appearing after death. It is possible that some “ghosts” are in fact spirits of deceased people who seek to give a word of comfort or even to warn their loved ones, but the Church has not spoken on the matter and has never affirmed whether it was possible or not.
If you are tormented by ghosts trying to haunt and scare you, don’t call Ghostbusters. Call a priest instead. There may be far more evil forces at work over which paranormal investigators will have no power. While the priest, by the strength of Jesus Christ, will have all power!
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